One $100 cheque a month for childcare isn’t enough for families, according to Scarborough Southwest Liberal candidate Michelle Simson.
Simson faced off against fellow candidates NDP Dan Harris, Conservative Gavan Paranchothy and Green Party Stefan Dixon at the West Scarborough Neighbourhood Community Centre Wednesday night. Education — of children and young adults — was a bone of contention amongst the hopefuls.
Simson criticized the Conservatives for eliminating the National Daycare Program and replacing it with a monthly cheque of $100 for families.
“It gives thousands and thousands and thousand of families no choice and it was a little bonus for the people that didn’t need it,” she said.
She added her party is planning on reinvesting to bring the program back.
Paranchothy defended the plan by saying Canadian families should be able to make the choice for themselves.
“One hundred (dollars) a month might seem like a small number,” he said. “This hundred dollars as your money that’s going to come back to you to decide how you’re going to raise your child.”
He added that his platform provides family tax cuts, doubling children’s fitness credit, children’s art credits, and support for family caregivers.
Harris argued that tax cuts don’t solve all of one’s bills and problems. He said the national childcare program is the “most broken promise of all time.”
He said that the Liberals only stuck to their promise with a National Daycare program after the NDP made it a condition of supporting their government.
“Once again, it takes a strong NDP to make sure that your priorities are met in Parliament,” Harris said.
The candidates also debated the cost of post-secondary education.
Paranchothy said the Conservatives invested heavily in infrastructure and the next part of the plan is textbook tax credits as tools required for vocational education.
Harris said the NDP’s plan is to attack “skyrocketing” tuition costs by lowering them, increasing funding for grants and increasing in tax credits.
“If you don’t have the money to pay for it in the first place, a tax cut is not going to help you,” he said. “That’s the Conservative plan. It leaves a lot of people left behind.”
Dixon said the Green Party plans on supporting expanding industry-based job training and apprenticeships programs to address big shortages of trained workers.
Simson said the Liberals are one of the only parties who want a Canadian Learning Strategy, which includes a learning passport of $1,000 a year in a savings account for students in high school to use for future post-secondary education.